Coming Attraction: Live!

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The second long-player from the Journeymen finds the trio of Dick Weissman (banjo/vocals), Scott McKenzie (guitar/vocals), and John Phillips (guitar/vocals) live at the Padded Cell in Minneapolis, MN, during June of 1962. This album follows on the heels of their eponymous debut effort from the previous year with a dozen tunes that include reworkings of traditional as well as new compositions. Phillips' skillfully scored vocal arrangements are a precursor to his work with the Mamas & the Papas some five years down the line. While his complex blend recalls the Four Freshmen and the Kingston Trio, it is the Journeymen's astute and advanced instrumental prowess that separated them from their contemporaries. Much of their success centered on the absolute accuracy and clean picking style of Weissman, who consistently proves himself as nothing short of the Niccolò Paganini of folk. In fact, Coming Attraction: Live! (1962) commences with his precision fingering on "I Am a Poor and Ramblin' Boy." From right out of the gate, Weissman's trademark sound can be felt as he glides and maneuvers through the almost incomprehensibly quick passages. As the lilting singalong "Gypsy Rover" demonstrates, he didn't sacrifice technical ability for melodic sensibilities either. Underlying the musicality is the group's surreptitious wit and somewhat more subdued political observations. The light-hearted "Metamorphosis" is a prime example with its blend of humor, literature, and sociology. Their bluesy "I Hate to See the Evenin' Sun Go Down," renamed "In the Evening," directly identifies their adeptness and versatility to be able to vacillate between folk and jazzier numbers as well.

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